Monitoring Matters: Turning Wants Into Needs

As a young burglar alarm salesman in the early 1980s I got my first crack at selling a system with access control, including entry doors, elevators and climate control.

I designed the system, priced it and sold it in a fashion that was new to me: the sales pitch to my potential client was based upon return on investment (ROI). The sale was especially attractive because it was the first time my small alarm company won a big job competing against ADT.

Although it was a great win both professionally and financially, the biggest reward I received from this experience was learning a new way to sell. I felt that for the first time I had a system and services I could sell in a manner that would allow me to outline how the recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and system investment would give the client tangible ROI.

This was not the typical burglar alarm RMR that felt like insurance; i.e., you pay for it and hope you never have to use it. This was an investment that reaped benefits every step of the way for the client.

Emphasizing Customer Needs
I mention the above experience as a case in point of utilizing RMR as a management tool for clients. Access control monitoring and management, along with remote video monitoring and management, are well known examples of this. Although these are good and prosperous examples, please don’t lose sight of the fundamental monitoring services we deal with daily that could allow you to sell in a much more proactive manner while achieving greater RMR.

It really doesn’t matter if it is a residential or large commercial application. The technology we have available at such affordable pricing makes it appealing to all. When these services are offered and explained properly, consumers get engaged.

I know this firsthand and I am a huge believer in selling comprehensive systems.  Consumers need and want to be educated.  I have experienced where a consumer could not justify paying for a system installation coupled with monthly payments of $27.95. Yet this same customer went on to purchase a slightly more expensive system, plus $39.95 RMR, because of the value he believed the additional services, including environmental monitoring, delivered.

One great sales philosophy I don’t ever forget is, “Turn wants into needs.” People will buy things they absolutely need, even in tough times. Therefore, it is essential you communicate to the consumer how and why the services you offer will enhance their life and reduce their stress. 

People usually buy a security system because they fear an intrusion. This could be stimulated by a number of suggestions and/or events. It is rare that they would call just for an environmental system.

Most consultants responding to or cold calling a potential client usually stay on target when dealing with the fear factor. This is a big mistake. Although it is always important to address the needs and requests of a client, it’s also your job to explain how your proposition can go much further than they originally expected.

Demonstrate for them how the investment they planned on making to protect themselves, their family and/or their business can also serve as a daily management tool. Start with monitoring environmental factors such as temperature and water and how this could be extended to include true remote management along with just about anything else they need to manage.

In some cases, you will be able to demonstrate this great value and it will almost appear the monitoring of a security system is not even a factor because they can justify the expense based upon all the value-added services you can provide.

We live in a very competitive world.  You should always use all available tools when competing. Don’t be afraid to explain what you can provide clients. Ask questions and remember one of the great habits of successful people, as noted by author Steven Covey: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Peter Giacalone is president of Giacalone Associates LLC, an independent security consulting firm.

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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